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Study Finds Women Are More At Risk for Serious Injuries in Car Accidents

A study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women throughout the U.S. - obviously including Massachusetts women - are more likely to suffer serious injuries in car accidents than men. The researchers advocate for improvements in auto-safety equipment specifically designed to help women.

In the study report, the researchers state that women's bodies are not as protected as men's bodies in car accidents because women on average weigh less and are shorter than men. They also said that women tend to sit in different positions in the car than men, according to an ABC News report.

This is problematic because most auto-safety equipment, like seat belts, is based on the characteristics of men's bodies and their driving behavior. As a result, the study found that women are 47 percent more likely to be injured in a car accident while wearing a seat belt than men wearing seat belts.

ABC News states that men are three times more likely to be in car accidents resulting in serious or fatal injuries; therefore, auto-safety equipment is developed with men's bodies and driving characteristics in mind. However, other studies have found conflicting evidence as to which gender is more likely to be involved in car accidents.

In the best situation, auto-safety equipment would protect all car drivers and passengers, and a representative from the Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow, said that newer cars are moving in that direction. The study analyzed crashes that occurred from 1998 to 2008, meaning that some of the vehicles' safety features are almost 20 years old, he pointed out. He also said a study using newer cars would show safety improvements for women such as "female-friendly airbags."

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